On a recent holiday to South East Asia, I loved being able to have a juicy fresh young coconut every day as well as feeding the coconut water and young flesh to my 7 month old infant. The nutrient density of coconuts means it has long been revered in traditional cultures as both a food and as a medicine.
Did you know that the composition of mineral nutrients in coconut water is almost exactly that of human blood plasma? It was used by doctors intravenously in war time for transfusions when blood products were scarce. It has also been used extensively in treating cholera, dysentery and influenza where dehydration is a major risk. Coconut water is far superior to most sports drinks as a complete electrolyte balancer.
Coconut water is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and contains other important trace elements needed by our body such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulphur, manganese. The high concentration of magnesium and potassium means it is effective in reducing high blood pressure and helps with preventing heart disease by improving the blood circulation. The evidence is so convincing that the US food regulatory body, the FDA, allows coconut water to carry the claim that it “may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke”. Now that's impressive coming from a usually uber-conservative body likethe FDA. Medical research has shown that it reduces the plaque formation in arteries in animals, reducing the risk of heart disease, and it is used therapeutically in the Philippines to dissolve and expel kidney stones without the need for surgery.
One of the most interesting things about coconut water is that is the highest natural dietary source of a plant growth hormone called cytokinin. Cytokinins have anti-aging and regeneration effects on human cells , and there are studies which have shown the beneficial effects cytokinins have on diseases such as cancer.
Consider coconut water in early pregnancy if you need to rehydrate yourself because of nausea or vomiting. Coconut water can also be used as an electrolyte balancer instead of sports drinks during labour.
Finally, the oil from the coconut has long been recognised in natural health circles as one of the best anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and healthiest oils to consume and cook with. It doesn’t deserve the bad press about saturated fats. It’s effects are actually the opposite- coconut’s main fat is in the form of lauric acid, which is also found in high concentrations naturally in human breast milk, providing immunity properties to infants. We will discuss the beneficial effects of coconut oil compared with other oils in a future newsletter.
So next time you are thirsty after a workout, want great looking skin, lose weight, improve your heart and blood circulation, or just a yummy drink, reach for a coconut!
Ref: Dr Bruce Fife.” Coconut water for Health and Healing”.